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Florida man hospitalized after attempt to kiss venomous snake

Austin Hatfield was hospitalized with a bite from a cottonmouth snake, also known as a water moccasin.

By Ben Hooper

WIMAUMA, Fla., April 22 (UPI) -- A Florida man is recovering from a cottonmouth snake bite to his lip after he allegedly tried to smooch the serpent on the mouth.

Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies said Austin Hatfield, 18, captured the 4-foot cottonmouth, also known as a water moccasin, while swimming last week and kept it in a pillowcase at his girlfriend's house, where he was bitten on the lip.

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Friends told investigators Hatfield was trying to kiss the snake when it struck him.

Hatfield was initially hospitalized in critical condition, but his status was upgraded to good condition and officials said he is expected to make a full recovery.

Investigators said Hatfield did not possess the proper permits required by the state to catch and keep cottonmouth snakes.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said it is investigating the incident.

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